Hockey

Argentina makes a clean sweep

South Korea overpowers South Africa

With both England and Argentina in the semifinals and the result irrelevant, England turned on its best performance of the tournament, yet lost 2-0 to Argentina in the last Pool B match of the women's hockey World Cup here on Monday.

The result gave Argentina a clean sweep of the pool.

“The gap between us has closed although Argentina is still better than us but we have developed and have become better,” said England coach Danny Kerry.

Noel Barrionuevo scored from Argentina's second penalty corner early in the first half and England pressured Argentina's defence yet made few shots on goal and earned no penalty corners.

Late in the match Daniela Sruoga picked Helen Richardson's pocket and drove inside the right post for Argentina's second goal.

Defensive approach

Kerry commented on Argentina's defensive approach. “I was surprised how defensive Argentina played with five and six players behind the ball but even so we contained Argentina from start to finish and I am very happy with that performance,” Kerry said.

Argentina's coach Carlos Retegui denies his defensive structure made England look good. “England did not have any shots on goal or any penalty corners so Argentina did not make England look good today,” Retegui said.

Focus turned to minor placings in Pool B as China won 6-0 over Spain and South Korea defeated South Africa 5-3.

South Korea took third place in Pool B, China fourth, South Africa fifth and Spain last.

South Korea will play in the 5-6 classification match, China 7-8, South Africa 9-10 and Spain 11-12.

In China's last pool match against Spain, Li Hongxia fired in a reverse flick goal from the top of the circle early in the match and Spain pressured China's midfield in the first half yet failed to convert any of the four first-half penalty corners.

China's skipper Fu Baorong created a goal from a midfield turnover to drive into the circle and shoot between the pads of Spain goalkeeper Maria Lopez de Eguilaz.

Spain lost heart and structure as China won four penalty corners and Ma Yibo converted all four with powerful flicks for her first goals of the tournament.

“It was so late in the tournament for China to score goals and come into some form and I hope it will help to move us up the table above South Korea on goal difference,” Kim said without knowledge of South Korea's win over South Africa.

Spain's skipper Nuria Camon said the team was disappointed not to have won a pool game but will stay united for the classification match.

South Africa looked to be heading for one of the upsets of the tournament when Sulette Damons scored very early in the first half and although Lee Seon Ok equalised with a penalty stroke just before the break, South Africa sped to a 3-1 lead with two rebound goals by Cindy Botha.

South Korea overpowered South Africa with four goals in 12 minutes by Kim Bo Mi, Cheon Seul Ki, Kim Young Ran and Park Mi Hyun to win 5-3.

Inexperience

South Africa skipper Marsha Marescia attributed the loss to inexperience. “Losing in the last 15 minutes when we were ahead 3-1 is a sign of our inexperience and Korea being physically more prepared to be able to play fast, physical hockey at the end of the pool round,” Marescia said.

Korea's coach Kang Keon Wook was pleased to be playing for fifth place but has his eyes fixed on Guangzhou, China. “Our next aim is to win gold at the Asian Games in China in November,” Kang said.

In the final Pool A matches on Tuesday, New Zealand meets India, the Netherlands plays Japan and Australia faces Germany.

The results:

Pool B: South Korea 5 (Lee 34, Kim Bo Mi 55, Cheon Seul Ki 58, Kim Young Ran 61, Park Mi Hyun 67) bt South Africa 3 (Sulette Damons 2, Cindy Botha 50, 52).

China 6 (Li Hongxia 11, Fu 42, Ma Yibo 49, 59, 63, 66) bt Spain 0.

Argentina 2 (Noel Barrionuevo 13, Daniela Sruoga 67) bt England 0.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 2:37:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/Argentina-makes-a-clean-sweep/article15906559.ece

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